Pittsfield CIA to Capture County Taxes

Washtenaw County government will have a portion of its taxes captured by Pittsfield Township’s State Street corridor improvement authority (CIA), following final approval by county commissioners at their Nov. 6, 2013 meeting. The final vote was unanimous. An initial vote had been taken on Oct. 16, 2013, over dissent by Dan Smith (R-District 2).

The resolution authorizes the county administrator to sign a tax-sharing agreement with Pittsfield Township and the State Street CIA, which is overseen by an appointed board. [.pdf of agreement] The agreement would allow the CIA to capture 50% of any county taxes levied on new development within the corridor boundaries, not to exceed $3,850,464 over a 20-year period, through 2033. The purpose is to provide a funding mechanism for improvements to the State Street corridor between the I-94 interchange and Michigan Avenue, as outlined in the CIA development and tax increment financing plan. [.pdf of TIF plan]

The Pittsfield Township board of trustees held a public hearing on the CIA at its Oct. 9, 2013 meeting. That started the clock on a 60-day period during which any taxing entities within the corridor can “opt out” of participation. The Washtenaw County parks & recreation commission voted to support participation in the CIA at its Oct. 8, 2013 meeting. Other local taxing entities in the corridor are Washtenaw Community College, the Huron Clinton Metro Authority, and the Saline and Ann Arbor district libraries.

On Oct. 16, Dan Smith had moved a substitute resolution. It stated that the county would not participate in the CIA. [.pdf of D. Smith's substitute resolution] He said he supported the road improvement project, but objected to the TIF funding mechanism. He noted that the county had the ability to invest directly in the project using general fund money. He also pointed out that if the county participated in the CIA, the county would have no control over how its portion of the captured taxes are spent. In addition, the decision not to participate would not necessarily be permanent, he said, because the county board could rescind this resolution at any point. Rescinding his resolution would trigger participation in the CIA.

The Oct. 16 vote on D. Smith’s opt-out resolution failed on a 2-7 vote, with support only from D. Smith and C. Smith.

On Nov. 6, Pittsfield Township supervisor Mandy Grewal addressed the board during public commentary, thanking them for their support of the CIA. Several other township officials attended the meeting but did not formally address commissioners. One opponent to the CIA – former township official Christina Lirones – spoke during two opportunities for public commentary, urging the board to opt out of the CIA.

There was minimal discussion before the final vote on Nov. 6. Dan Smith pointed out that the board was voting on the tax-sharing agreement. Procedurally, it was not an “opt-in” vote, he noted.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor, where the board of commissioners holds its meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link]